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Regional Development ministry halts layoffs

FINANCIAL STANDARD
By | March 6th 2012

By James Anyanzwa

The planned retrenchment of workers in authorities affiliated to the ministry of Regional Development Authority has been halted due to lack of funds.

In the meantime, the ministry has redeployed some employees to specialised roles they best suited to do.

"We have not done any retrenchment but we have reassigned some employees to roles where they are specialised to handle," Permanent Secretary Carey Orege told the Financial Journal, adding that there was no funds to pay those declared redundant.

Orege said the process could be completed in June if funds are available. The authorities have a workforce of about 1,625, with many serving in low cadres.

"No retrenchment has been done. We are in a catch 22 situation because the Government doesn’t have money," said Orege.

The retrenchment programme will cost the exchequer close to Sh60 million in compensation packages.

The country’s six regional development authorities were expected to lay-off staff and review remuneration packages to boost performance and efficiency of those retained.

The authorities are Kerio Valley Development Authority, Lake Basin Development Authority , Tana River Development Authority, Ewaso Nyiro North Development Authority, Coast Development Authority and Ewaso Nyiro South Development Authority.

Re-organisation is also expected to attract and retain qualified staff. The plan has been part of the Government’s turnaround strategy to put the authorities on the profitability track.

The authorities are tasked to foster development within their localities through implementation of programmes and projects like provision of hydropower, flood control, water supply for irrigation, domestic and industrial use as well as environmental conservation.

Local farmers

They also act as a link between local farmers and the market.

Established primarily to address the regional imbalances, regional authorities though underfunded, play a key role in cohesion of the country.

Meanwhile, the ministry has rolled out projects worth Sh250 million to be implemented in 10 years.

The infrastructure-based projects include electric power generation, irrigation and domestic water supply.

Apart from the Government’s budgetary support, the ministry expects financial support from development partners, non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations and private investors interested in the projects.

Regional authorities benefit communities through poverty reduction, income generation, and employment creation and promote environment management in line with the aspiration of Vision 2030.

Some time back, the ministry launched the 2008-2012 strategic plan, whose implementation is expected to realise the goals of Vision 2030.

The plan created 213,000 direct and 956,000 indirect jobs, increased food security through irrigation, improved environment through conservation and management.

Other benefits included improved water storage and supplies for domestic, livestock, fisheries and industrial use by 15.746 million cubic metres of water and increased power generation by 630 megawatts.

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